Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
Governor Bentley Announces New Alabama Development Office Director
MONTGOMERY (Release) - Governor Robert Bentley today announced the appointment of Greg Canfield as the new Director of the Alabama Development Office. ADO Director Seth Hammett is returning to his position with PowerSouth Energy.
Greg Canfield began his career in business with the Fortune 500 Company, Purolator Corporation. He later became the Southeast Regional Sales Manager and then Regional Administration Manager with responsibility for the corporate regional budgetary process. Canfield entered the insurance and financial services field in 1991 and opened a small business in 1993 marketing insurance services to businesses and individuals. After selling his business in 2008, Canfield joined J.H. Berry Insurance in Birmingham, AL.
Canfield was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in November 2006 to represent Jefferson and Shelby Counties. Representative He has taken an active role in local and state economic development activities. As President of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce in 1997, Greg Canfield launched the Business Development Committee that went on to recruit investment in commercial properties and businesses in the community. In 2000, serving as President of the Vestavia Hills City Council, he was instrumental in the development of the City's first long-range economic and land use plan that became the basis for future business development activity in that City.
"Greg is a salesman at heart and will be a tremendous asset to the Alabama Development Office. He knows both large and small business, having worked for Fortune 500 companies and started a small business from the ground up," said Governor Robert Bentley. "As a long-time leader in one of the economic centers of Alabama, Greg has been deeply involved in significant job recruitment efforts at both the state and local level. I am pleased that he is willing to serve in this important role, and I look forward to continuing to work with our entire ADO team as we put Alabama back to work."
Governor Bentley also added, "I want to thank Seth for his outstanding service. I asked him to join my administration to make sure we had a smooth transition on the economic development projects that were ongoing and to initiate a strategic planning process that will help guide our work in this area in the future. He has accomplished both goals and I look forward to working his him in the future as he returns to the private sector."
"I am very excited Governor Bentley is giving me the opportunity to build on Alabama's legacy as one of the most desirable states in which to locate business and industry," said Greg Canfield. "Now, more than ever, we must elevate Alabama as the preeminent State for business and job creation. This is Alabama. Let's do business."
Alabama Development Office Director Seth Hammett said, "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Governor Bentley in the Alabama Development Office. His mission to create jobs is one that the staff at ADO takes seriously. I have a lot of respect for Greg Canfield and will help him in any way I can as he leads this important state agency."
Canfield is expected to begin his duties at ADO on or before August 1, 2011.
Governor's news link
Pinto Island terminal receives award from port association
MOBILE, Ala. -- The American Association of Port Authorities has given its top honor in engineering for innovation and handling technology to the Alabama State Port Authority'snew Pinto Island terminal.
It's the second award won by the terminal in the past week. American Metal Market also honored the terminal with its 2011 logistics and transportation provider of the year award.
The Pinto Island project came about in 2007, when ThyssenKrupp AG, aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local government incentives, decided to put its first U.S. plant near Calvert.
The port authority agreed to invest about $100 million in the Pinto Island terminal, which transfers steel slabs from ocean-going vessels to river-ready barges.
Mitchell Cancer Institute wants its faculty to be entrepreneurs as well as researchers
Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 8:50 AM Updated: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 10:36 AM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register
The University of South Alabama didn't spend $135 million on the Mitchell Cancer Institute just to create jobs, but economic benefits have always been billed as a big part of the project.
So far, 275 people are working at the institute, which is based on Spring Hill Avenue adjoining Mobile Infirmary Medical Center and USA Children's & Women's Hospital.
Though by some measures the institute is already over its planned capacity, its research component is still growing rapidly. For example, a new drug discovery team has recently been hired.
The institute is also pushing its faculty and researchers to think in commercial terms, not only bringing in outside funding for research but also producing treatments that can reap money for the institute. The traditional mission for a public university has been teaching, research and service, but at the cancer center, that three-legged stool consists of research, service and entrepreneurship.
"My folks who do research don't just do research," said Laurie Owen, associate director of basic and translational sciences. "They know how to write business plans."
Region shows resolve after loss
Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 7:20 AM Updated: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 10:32 AM
By K.A. Turner, Press-Register Press-Register
MOBILE, Ala. -- Serenity, as the well-known prayer teaches, can be found in knowing what you can control and what you can't, then taking appropriate action based upon that knowledge.
I couldn't help but think about that idea as I talked with George Freeland about the recent Paris Air Show.
Freeland, executive director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, was among the locals who represented the region in Paris. Troy Wayman, vice president of economic development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, was also in the delegation and offered his impressions for Gulf Coast Business readers as well.
As news coverage of the air show unfolded, I thought about how different things could have been had the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. won the contest to build new refueling tanker aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.
Supplier businesses might have lined up in Paris to announce their moves to coastal Alabama or Mississippi. The Gulf Coast aerospace corridor could have been the toast of the town.
But EADS didn't win, and Paris brought no major economic announcements to celebrate in the region.
Asked about what might have been, Freeland offered this perspective.
"This region has been successful through its political leadership and through its economic development agencies because it focuses very specifically and efficiently on those items that we can control. The eventual circumstance with the tanker program was one we couldn't control. As a region, we have to be comfortable that we positively affected every variable that was within our reach."
And what about the things regional leaders could control? Freeland said that the air show served to demonstrate that alliances built during the tanker chase remain in place and should help the Gulf region prosper.
"It would have absolutely been within our control to lose focus on our regional identity," Freeland said. "It was absolutely within our control to begin to abandon our commitment to this regional collaboration. But we decided to use this as an opportunity to increase this resolve .¤.¤. I think the companies we met with saw that."
Mobile's international marketing has taken
Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 6:50 AM Updated: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 10:34 AM
By Troy Wayman, special to the Gulf Coast Business Press-Register
MOBILE, Ala. -- This year's Paris Air Show posed a bit of a mystery to us. What would it hold in the wake of the disappointing tanker decision by our federal government? Would we be able to schedule appointments to market Mobile? Would companies still have an interest in the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor?
In confirmation of the fact that the EADS project has garnered tremendous international recognition for Mobile, we found that interest in our area is as strong, if not stronger than ever! Between appointments scheduled with existing Mobile Bay region aerospace companies and prospects and new leads for our area, we had more than 50 pre-scheduled meetings at the air show. These appointments, combined with dinners and receptions scheduled with aerospace companies with direct connection or interest in the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor, made for an extremely busy schedule.
Many factors contribute to the success of our international marketing. Consider the impact that the Aerospace Alliance has by combining the assets of the Gulf Coast aerospace partners in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana. A reception hosted by the Alliance drew more than 300 executives from leading aerospace companies from all over the world. This provided our elected officials and economic development professionals the opportunity to network one-on-one with many of the top names and decision-makers in the sector.
Founders of Birmingham's Motus Motorcycles heading to San Francisco to test, tout bikes
Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 5:45 AM
By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The founders of Birmingham-based Motus Motorcycles will take to the highway next week for a 5,500-mile road trip intended to test the company's bikes and begin building a sales network.
Lee Conn and Brian Case, the company's president and design director, respectively, will ride two Motus bikes from Birmingham to San Francisco, down the California coast, and then back. They'll be accompanied by a van carrying engineers and equipment for monitoring performance on the trip, beginning Monday.
"Each one of the motorcycles is rigged up with sensors on the brakes, clutch, engine ... every component on the motorcycle will be monitored," Conn said.
About 10 of 13 scheduled stops along the route are at motorcycle dealerships where the Motus team hopes to establish relationships with dealers and show off the bikes to potential buyers. The company this week began reaching out to potential buyers using social media, and hopes to draw crowds along its route.
"We're a brand new company doing something that's unimaginably challenging," Conn said. "The best way for us to create some credibility is for people to walk up to the owners of those stores and say 'I want that bike.'"
Motus was founded in 2008 with the goal of producing a touring motorcycle that will compete with the foreign brands that now dominate that market. The Motus bikes have a direct injected V-4 powered, liquid-cooled engine designed for Motus by Pratt & Miller and Katech Engines of Detroit. Most street bikes today have air-cooled, V-twin engines. Retail prices will be announced later this year, Conn said.
Lee Conn, president and co-founder of Motus Motorcycles, monitors sales of Motus-brand T-shirts Tuesday on the first day the company sold apparel. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)
The company is working out of offices in downtown's Innovation Depot business incubator, but Conn and Case hope to open an assembly facility and be producing motorcycles early next year, Conn said.
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Wendy Wallace Johnson